Who wouldn’t want to have a direct link to the Divine? Imagine if you could dial up a conversation with God with a list of requests or questions that need answering, and God actually took your call rather than having one of his angels screen it for him? Many out there covet such a connection, and just as many claim to have it. Pastor John Arnott of the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church is one of them.
Arnott is both the central figure in Christian revival of the 90s and 00s that sprung up at the church and the Little Kid song that bears his name. In a statement about the band’s new track, songwriter Kenny Boothby explains his history with the church and Arnott: “I actually traveled up from Petrolia with my family to attend a service there, and later learned my partner was attending at the same time.” Christian themes are often central to Boothby’s lyrics and he’s once again gracing listeners with cutting lyrical verses like “Arnott / Hard up for gold until god / Blessed all the teeth in his jaw / The brightest smile you ever saw.”
“Most of the churches I attended in my teens and early adulthood were led by pastors inspired by the movement that [Arnott] started,” Boothby explains, adding “Frankly, they were all a bit ‘out there.’” Musically speaking, “John Arnott” is out there too, embracing boisterous and grainy indie rock bombast that mirrors what the controlled chaos of ‘spiritual awakenings’ at these churches was like. In the mid 90s, I made a visit to the so called “Toronto Blessing” at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church; it was an experience that left me dazed, stunned, and very confused, mostly because the glinting reflection of pot lights off the pastor’s golden rings repeatedly blinded me. While my companion that day was all-in on the messages coming through the man on the stage, I was tuned out and turned off, finding more farce than faith in the proceedings. Similarly, Little Kid floods the senses as the song comes to a thundering conclusion, coalescing into a shoegazey swarm of guitars and effects. Now that’s one revival whose bandwagon I would surely jump upon.